The public’s trust in our politicians has fallen, according to a survey carried out by the Committee on Standards in Public Life. Apparently only 22% of people think government ministers tell the truth. This is down 5% from 27% in the 2006 survey.
Committee chair Sir Christopher Kelly thinks that the reason behind the fall in levels of trust is that greater openness has meant that people have become aware of things that were previously carried out that they did not know about. Kelly thinks that once party funding and MP allowances are sorted out, the public will have more trust.
It would be a start, but more needs to be done before politicians pull themselves out of the trust levels of estate agents and tabloid journalists. Of course there are some politicians who are honest, capable and hardworking, but there are plenty more who are, frankly, worthless. I wouldn’t trust them to mow my lawn, let alone represent me, and I certainly don’t want them running the country.
27% in 2006, 22% now, it is all much of a muchness really. People do not trust politicians because the nature of running for political office means survival of the slimiest. People are not stupid; they can see through the fake smiles and discern the simple truth that in front of them is a man or woman who does not care for you but for power.
For trust in politicians to rise, a number of things would have to change. A good start would be to return power to Parliament, subverted over the years by the political parties. MPs are so closely contained by party politics that you can almost see the strings controlling them. To cut the strings would make humans of these puppets. Gordon Brown came to power promising such reform, but as we have seen with the plethora of contemptuously illiberal acts supported by his MPs under the threat of a good whipping from the headmaster, his talk has proved as cheap as the subsidized booze in the House of Commons.